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Do Pollution Markets Harm Low Income and Minority Communities? Ranking Emissions Distributions Generated by California's RECLAIM Program

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  • Erin T. Mansur
  • Glenn Sheriff

Abstract

We compare the spatial distribution of emissions from Southern California’s pollution-trading program with that of a counterfactual command-and-control policy. We develop a normatively significant metric with which to rank the various distributions in a manner consistent with an explicit well-behaved preference structure. Results suggest trading benefited all demographic groups and generated a more equitable overall distribution of emissions even after controlling for its lower aggregate emissions. Upper-income and white demographics had more desirable distributions relative to low-income and some minority groups under the RECLAIM trading program, however, and population shifts over time may have undermined anticipated gains for African Americans.

Suggested Citation

  • Erin T. Mansur & Glenn Sheriff, 2019. "Do Pollution Markets Harm Low Income and Minority Communities? Ranking Emissions Distributions Generated by California's RECLAIM Program," NBER Working Papers 25666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25666
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    Cited by:

    1. Danae Hernandez-Cortes & Kyle C. Meng, 2020. "Do Environmental Markets Cause Environmental Injustice? Evidence from California’s Carbon Market," NBER Working Papers 27205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling

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